Tarantismo e stato secondo: storia delle interpretazioni etimologiche


The phenomenon of tarantism has ancient origins, dating back to the Bacchic rites in ancient Greece, though, many scholars date its beginnings, in the form we observe now, only in the late Middle Ages. The medical literature of the '600, through illustrious authors like Epifanio Ferdinando and Giorgio Baglivi, analyses carefully the phenomenon dealing with the causes, effects and remedies that the bite of the tarantula causes on the human body. The bite is intended, therefore, solely as a curable disease with music. Today, in light of studies developed by Ernesto De Martino and his team in Salento, tarantism is seen as a socio-cultural phenomenon to analyse. The reaction that the bite causes has various psychological and social aspects to be taken into consideration: the large number of illiterate people, the patriarchal family, the role of women, of the economy, of religion. After the sting, the dancing body with the movements of a spider on the notes of the pinch-pinch or tarantella to kick the aracnides poison through sweating. But the poison, which shakes the man's body, is that of the animal or of a poisoned society? The interplay that develops between music and the psyche, causing the trance, is very important to try to give an answer to doubts and questions by psychologists, medicine doctors, sociologists and ethnologists over the years. The resumption of the phenomenon, to which we are witnessing today, intends to rediscover past traditions and cultures, trying to update them in a context in which the young person needs to get away from social evils and find certainties.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i17201632vxixn34p97

Keywords: Baglivi; tarantism; healing trance

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